Getting into astronomy is an expensive hobby.
Getting into astrophotography is even more expensive.
Since the mount is what makes or breaks the quality of the image, you’ll want a reliable option that won’t put you into debt, especially if it’s your first, real imaging mount.
Where to start?
With the Celestron Advanced VX (AVX).
✔️ Best Feature: For astrophotography
❌ Worst Feature: Quality control issues
👌 Ideal For: Visual, Astrophotography, Beginners
- Mount Design: Computerized Equatorial
- Mount Weight: 17 lbs (7.71 kg)
- Tripod Weight: 18 lbs (8.16 kg)
- Load Capacity: 30 lbs (14 kg)
- Tripod Leg Diameter: 2” (50.8 mm)
Our Verdict: Easy to use, affordable, and reliable. We must be talking about the Celestron Advanced VX mount. It’s made to be fast, easy, and dependable to use out in the field for both visual and astrophotography use. As an entry-level imaging mount, it’s perfect for the entry-level imager.
Who is the Celestron Advanced VX Best Suited to?
The Advanced VX mount is designed for beginners who want a leg up in the GoTo, GEM, and imaging fields of astronomy. Intermediates would be able to get some good use out of the AVX, and they’ll certainly find the portability of the mount as an attractive feature.
How Does the Celestron Advanced VX Perform?
The Celestron Advanced VX is a welcome addition to the market with its quality upgrades that makes it a universal player in the field. With its CGEM (Computerized German Equatorial Mount) design, you can learn how to track objects, navigate the sky autonomously, and even get started in astrophotography.
As an imaging mount, it has a lot of standard features that are acceptable for its price point such as DC servo motors, motor encoders, and worm gears. While you may be able to think of a few things that could be deserving of an upgrade, those few things would immediately put this scope in another price range.
As such, the AVX is appropriate for its price point as an entry-level imaging mount with an increased payload capacity, beefier tripod legs, and electronic benefits that allows remote control. All this is provided in a lightweight setup that is worthy of travel.
Features & Benefits
The Advanced VX is a starter astrophotography mount. It can handle payloads up to 15 lbs for imaging, and this can be done with a reasonable setup. It has a computerized equatorial system in the form of a motorized, dual-axis motor with encoders, NexStar+ hand control, and multiple ports to plug in for remote control.
This is the price range of servo motors as micro stepper motors won’t be seen for under $1000. This is one of the reasons why the Advanced VX is so affordable.
Both axes have encoders, and before you get too excited, it’s not “those” kind of encoders. These are motor position encoders that can detect movement and measure ticks per revolution of the motor, but it will lose alignment if you release the clutches and manually slew.
NexStar+ Hand Controller
The Celestron mount comes with the NexStar+ hand controller. It has one of the easiest interfaces in the entire market and offers up a database that allows you to automatically locate stars, constellations, galaxies, nebulae, and many more celestial objects. This will be a very appreciated feature for beginners as it makes it easier to learn the night sky.
Although the hand controller provides all the commands to the mount, you can plug in and gain remote control of the mount with your PC or laptop. This gives you the chance to use imaging software and autoguide your setup for the best performance while imaging.
The VX has a dual-width saddle that can accommodate Celestrons’ CG5 and CGE dovetail plates. The CG5 has a width of 1.75” and is the conventional Vixen-style dovetail bar. The CGE has a width of 3”, but it will not be compatible with Losmandy dovetails wider than this.
With this feature, you can fit almost any modern, medium-weight telescope to the Advanced VX mount. So, when you want to switch out the OTA, the dual-width Vixen-style saddle proves to be a very convenient feature.
Quality Control Issues
For those who are mechanically inclined, there is little issue with the AVX. For those who aren’t so fortunate to have those skills, there could be some quality control issues that may warrant a repair under the warranty.
Various issues such as overtightened parts, issues relating to plastic parts being used, or issue with the worm housing can arise.
Since the AVX is warrantied against defects in workmanship and parts, it can be serviced under the warranty if the need arises.
Will the Advanced VX Mount be Compatible with any Vixen Plate?
Yes, as long as the plate is longer than 100 mm. The knobs that hold the dovetail in place are 90 mm apart, so the plate must be long enough to allow the knobs to come in contact with the plate. The width of Vixen-style dovetails are a non-issue as it can accommodate 1.75” to 3” for width.
What is the Latitude Range of the Celestron AVX Mount?
The latitude range that the Advanced VX mount allows is 7-77 degrees. This is forgiving enough for precise alignment and to avoid having to use a pier extension.
What is the Weight Capacity of the Celestron Advanced VX Mount?
The load capacity of the AVX mount is 30 lbs. Celestron tends to be pretty liberal with weight capacity, so you can load up to 30 lbs for visual use. For imaging, it’s advised not to exceed 50% of the load capacity for optimal performance.
Is the Celestron AVX Mount Belt-Driven?
The AVX is not belt-driven and incorporates toothed gears and a worm drive. This is a standard setup for a mount in this price range. However, it is prone to backlash that causes tracking errors. This can be improved with backlash compensation and periodic error correction that the mount provides.
The Advanced VX is not your forever mount, but it is a mount that can get you started in astrophotography with, with an average budget.
Even if you’re not yet ready to delve into imaging, the AVX is an excellent start to using GoTo with an equatorial mount. You’ll have the easy-to-use NexStar+ hand controller on your side to help you navigate the night sky while you learn how to track.
For a mount that can be used with various OTAs, the AVX is a mount that is a keeper even when you’re ready to upgrade.